FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019: Korea Republic script thrilling comeback to defeat Senegal on penalties and reach semifinals

Korea republic u-20 world cup

Korea Republic completed a thrilling comeback to defeat Senegal in the penalty shootout and book a place in the semifinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 in Poland on Saturday. 

The South Koreans had scored eight minutes into the stoppage time to make it 2-2 and force the game into extra time and then once again came back from the brink after missing the first two penalties in the shootout.

Senegal began the brighter of the two sides in the quarterfinal which played out at the Stadion Miejsk in Bielsko-Biała and deservedly took the lead in the 37th minute when Cavin Diagne fired in after Ibrahima Niane set him up with a cushioned header inside the box.

However, the Taeguk Warriors fought back to win a penalty in the 62nd minute when the referee pointed to the spot for a push on Lee Ji-sol inside the box. It was Lee Kang-in, who plies his trade in the La Liga with Valencia, who made it 1-1 from the spot.

The Africans, though, wrested back the advantage in no time as the Video Assistant Referee awarded a penalty to the Senegalese after Lee Jae-ik handled the ball in the area. Goalkeeper Lee Gwang-yeon managed to pull off a save off Niane, but was received a yellow card for advancing off the line before the kick was taken.

Niane made no mistake on the second attempt and Senegal were ahead with less than a quarter of hour left to play. Korea Republic looked to be heading out of the U-20 World Cup with them failing to break down the Senegal defence despite repeated attempts.

But the breakthrough came in the eighth minute of the second-half injury time when Lee, who had won the penalty earlier in the game, turned hero again as he headed the ball into the goal to take the game into extra time.

Cho Young-wook then gave the South Koreans the lead for the very first time in the game when he found the back of the net in the 96th minute of the game, but this time it was Senegal who found the late equaliser through Amadou Ciss to enforce the tie-breakers.

Korea Republic seemed to have lost it when they missed the first two spot-kicks, but in what summed up this quarterfinal encounter, they came back to win 3-2 on penalties and set up a semifinal clash against Ecuador on June 12.

Meanwhile, Ecuador had booked their semifinal berth defeating United States 2-1. Jose Charcopa gave Ecuador the lead at the half-hour mark, but Timothy Weah equalised for the US U-20s six minutes later. Jhon Izquierdo’s goal, two minutes before the half-time break, turned out to be the winner for the Yellows.